BMW 2 Series

The new BMW 2 Series replaces the 1 Series Coupé and is aimed at the young and young at heart, who simply love driving.

We went to the South of Spain to test drive the rear-wheel drive 220d and 235i in the hills around Ronda, to find out just how dynamic the little BMW can be.

So why is the 1 Series Coupé no more? As you know, BMW has repositioned some of its product recently, with the 3 Series Coupé and Convertible now replaced with the slightly more upmarket and pricier 4 Series Coupé and Convertible.

BMW's entry 1 Series is best known as a compact hatchback, and the coupé version has always stood out as something a bit more, both in terms of its striking looks and higher price tag. In fact, the M135i Coupé was one of the best performance cars you could buy.

From its launch in 2007, the 1 Series Coupé's exterior was a little divisive, as it featured some aggressive styling lines that could split opinions. The new 2 is styled by the same designer who delivered the current 3 Series.

2 Series is longer than the 1 Coupé (+7cm) and has a longer roofline and softer curves. The unique headlights flow towards the grille but, unlike the 3 Series, do not join it. The car also sits on a longer wheelbase and the body is slightly wider, as is its track. LED rear taillights feature too.

Overall, the more sophisticated and smoother styling of the 2 Series will definitely bring new customers to the brand. If you want a more aggressive look, the impressive M-Sport styling pack is available.

Inside the compact cabin, the front two occupants get decent room. Rear space is better, but still tight, despite an additional 2cm of legroom. Think of the 2 Series as a three-seater and you won't be disappointed. The frameless coupé doors continue, while the boot is slightly bigger with 390 litres of space.

On the road, the €39,080 (OTR), 220d, four-cylinder diesel, with its 184hp and 380nm of torque, is near perfect. The standard six-speed manual gearbox, well-geared steering and rear-wheel drive combine to deliver, when required, a very enthusiastic driving experience. 2 Series is grin-inducing; even at low speeds the car feels precise and beautifully balanced.

The entry-point, tax band 'A4', 218d (€35,700 OTR) will also come as an automatic and will be the choice of many town users, starting at €37,057 on the road.

The M235i is incredible fun. The power delivery is electrifying, with 0-100km/h taking just 4.8 seconds. The compact body and ample power combine in a sensational recipe, making the asking price of €57,660 (Manual/OTR) or €60,443 (OTR) for the automatic seem pretty reasonable.

Dealer-only options include an M-Diff (for the serious enthusiast) and there is also a race model available that comes fitted with a roll cage, racing fuel tank and little else! BMW, quite rightly, has that much faith in how sorted and ready to race the car is.

BMW's 2 Series offers brilliant, compact motoring. It goes on sale on March 8.

Michael Sheridan


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